Detroit: Postives - 1C - Larkin - 1RW - Mantha - Bertuzzi, Hronek are solid players. - Athanasiou (I have some problems with him on the defensive side of the ice, but in the right set up he can be an asset) - A lot of cap space to work with after the season - GM Negatives - An aging core of players on decline and tied up quite a few years (Nielsen, Abdelkader, Helm, Filppula, Howard) - Lack of elite talent and depth - Not a lot of cap to work with Some of their better prospects/player who have not broken through: Seider, Zadina, Rasmussen, Veleno, Svechnikov. Los Angeles Kings Positives 1C - Kopitar 1RD - Doughty Negatives - An old core with some years left on their contracts (Kovalchuk, Carter, Brown, Quick) - How well will the contacts of Kopitar and Doughty age? While they might be worth their pay now. They can very likely be liabilities when the Kings are done rebuilding and want to compete again. - Lack of elite talent and the elite talent they have are quite old - Not a lot of cap to work with Some of their better prospects/player who have not broken through: Vilardi, Kupari, Thomas, Björnfot, Grundström, Fagemo, Durzi. Minnesota Positives - Solid defensive core - Quite good team on paper if the players deliver close to their level they should compete for a wild card Negatives - Their core is old (Staal, Koivu, Parise, Suter, Zuccarello, Dubnyk). While Suter is still good, Parise is slowing down and both of their contracts will probably be ugly in the end. - Few prospects (Eriksson Ek havent broken through as Wild had hoped, will Kaprizov ever come?) - Not a lot of cap to work with Some of their better prospects/player who have not broken through: Kaprizov, Khovanov, Eriksson Ek, Kunin Ottawa: Positives - 1RD - Chabot - 1LW - Tkachuk (22nd in points and 24th in ppg last season according to NHL and with potential, they usually have a few C who should be put as LW) - Good draft picks: Two 1st round picks who right now looks like they are gonna be high and a lot of 2nd round picks that look to be high (Columbus*2 and San Jose next year) - Flexible cap structure (They can still take some bad contracts from other teams to get futures) - Good depth players (2nd to 3rd liners) who are quite young: White (Potential 2nd line C), Pageau, Tierney, C. Brown, Namestnikov, Duclair. Negatives - Owner - Lack of elite talent (Especially forwards) - Lack of a good goalie or a really talented goalie prospect - Ryan contract (Not that bad since Ottawa do not need that salary for anything right now anyway) Some of their better prospects/player who have not broken through: Brannström, Balcers, L. Brown, Abramov, Batherson, Jaros, Lajole, Thomson San Jose Sharks (Get the place instead of NJD because of a lot more games played) Positives - Hertl, Meier, Labanc solid young players on good contracts - On paper if their star players lift themselves to be close to their regular level they are a playoff team. Negatives - An aging core on long contracts that is supposed to compete now. A lot of the contracts (Vlasic, Karlsson, Burns, Couture, Jones and Kane) looks like they will be very bad in the future. - Low on prospects as they have competed for ages. - Few draft picks - Little cap to work with - Missing 1G Some of their better prospects/player who have not broken through: Dahlen, Knyazev, Merkley Personally if you just look at the teams and the picks I feel like Ottawa is in the best position to build a strong team. They have quite solid depth, they have the picks they need to fill up on elite players and they have a lot of cap to work with. Then when you consider owners and GMs its harder to say. I think Yzerman can get Detroit up and running, but it will take some years. San Jose can compete this year and perhaps the next, but it looks very likely they will have some rough years after that. Kings will take some time to get back up and the same with Minnesota.